Where We Are
The Jets are not in a good place. They've gone up against five of last year's playoff teams. They have five losses. Things could be worse... but not much worse. The Jets are a bad team right now and holes are obvious. The pass defense is an absolute mess, but that's somewhat offset by the pass offense being an absolute mess. The majority of the stars and key position players on both sides of the ball are on the wrong side of 30 and many of them are starting to show their age. With the playoffs a distant glimmer in the eyes of a madman, Jets fans are mostly looking at the young players to see what could be in the years to come.
Where They Are
The Ravens are in a rare place. Having just gone on the road to MetLife last weekend, the Ravens will return to MetLife this weekend. After nearly being gifted a win by poor officiating, the Ravens managed to lose to OBJ... I mean the Giants... and dropped to 3-3. The Ravens have had a relatively easy schedule compared to some teams, and have looked pretty mediocre. After starting out 3-0 by beating perennial weaklings (Bills, Browns, and Jaguars), the Ravens have lost to some middle-of-the-pack teams (Raiders, Redskins, and Giants). The team has been up and down in the last few years and injuries to Flacco and Suggs could heavily impact their ability to bounce back. The Ravens need an easy win to get out of their funk and end the three-game losing streak.
|Flacco, Joe||QB||Right Shoulder||DNP||DNP||FP||Questionable|
|Hester Sr., Devin||WR||Thigh||DNP||DNP||FP||Questionable|
|Smith Sr., Steve||WR||Ankle||DNP||DNP||DNP||Doubtful|
Well, it was only a matter of time: The Jets' X-Factor has to be Geno Smith. When you make a quarterback change like this one, it's impossible for poor columnists to choose a different X-Factor. What an odd story. Geno Smith's last start came in 2013 and he posted the only perfect passer rating of the season. That was a long time ago. Since then, Geno has been assaulted and booed and has ridden the bench. Jets fans want to get a final look at him. Jets coaches want to get a spark. On Sunday, things are going to get interesting.
The Jets have a big problem at stopping the big play and the Ravens have one of the NFL's premier deep threats and deep ball tossers. Joe Flacco's talent is constantly in question, but his deep ball is certainly elite. This suits a vertical route receiver like Mike Wallace, who caught a 70-yarder last week against the Giants. Wallace has exactly two games with over 65 receiving yards. In both games, Wallace had fewer than 30 yards once you remove his biggest play. Wallace lives and dies by the big play and so do the Jets (okay, they die by any pass play). He's the ultimate X-Factor and the Jets have to hope he doesn't go off on Sunday.
Keys To Victory
Offense: Let's try running it.
Defense: I honestly don't know. Don't give up yards and points and stuff.
The Bottom Line
The Jets are a train wreck right now. On offense, the Jets' receiver combo of Marshall and Decker (with Decker on IR) are both hurting and they're starting Geno Smith behind a porous offensive line. On defense, all of the stars are failing to shine: Darrelle Revis is in decline, Muhammad Wilkerson isn't living up to his contract, and Sheldon Richardson is just a limited contributor playing out of position. Even though the Ravens hardly look like world-beaters this year, it's hard to be overly optimistic about the Jets. I'm not really impressed by either team this year, but considering how completely lifeless the Jets looked against the 2-3 Cardinals on Monday (which means another short week), I'm going to pick the Ravens in a nailbiter.